So went last night with a group of 7 to shaanxi gourmet. Thistime,didn't have the challenge of a vegetarian at this place which is hardly veg. friendly (although we managed).
First off, we learned while going through pitchers of sapporo on tap, that the third pitcher is free. nice touch.
Started wtih cold plates. They had eight cold dishes in the buffet section - i skipped the peanuts so we got thin sliced pork ear, also zhu duzi, i think is pork stomach but might be belly - probably pig stomach, spiced and sliced thin, there was a type of cold spiced beef, think a chewy corned beef with hot pepper, shredded potato, seaweed salad, cucumbers, and doufu pi - tofu skin kinda stuff chewy with vegetables. Those seven plus in the other case where they keep the cold soft driks, theyhad a some plates of a cold jellied meat (if you know p'tcha, it's like that, or thin sliced head cheese but made form lambs or calves feet, or maybe pork, we didn't ask, the texture was extremely delicate and we found it deicious)>
Then we ordered the hot dishes. First off, we didn't get the cumin lamb skewers this time. But we did get mushroom skewers (btw, the canard that the staff is english-free is ridick. half the waiters spoke a wonderful fluent english one waiter was from Shaanxi(xi'an), and another was from Shanxi (datong). Their english was marvelous0 - anyway, we got the mushroom skewers and the tofu skin skewers - oth cming in a wonderful runny sesmae sauce. the mushrooms looked like smallish oyster mushrooms. Very tasty. We also got the shrimp skewers which i'd pass on - by the time they came we were getting full, so no one trie dthem when they were hot, they were whole shrijp, with head nd shell on too muc work f you dn't ant to eat the sheland ae great sauce. but no real need.
The farinaceous dishes were great. We had two orders of the yangrou paomo, the lamb soup with the unleavened bread bits... they take a small say wheaten griddle cake and then tear it up into fine piees about the size of a pinky fingernail. these are added to a lamb soup with glass noodles.As the bread pieces sit in the soup, they absorb more and more of the broth. You can ask them to bring you the paomo and tear it yourself if you like, it's work and kinda fun if you have kids there, and it's how it's done in homes in Shaani, but it's way easier to let them do it. The yangrou paomo comes with a small dish of sweet pickled garlic, some scallions or perhaps another herb, and a red sauce nowhere near as hot as sriracha (although some of the dishes pack serious heat.).
the next dish was the liang pi - the cold noodles made of bean flour (and probably a bit of wheat flour as well) It comes in two styles, either plain with viengar or spicier with a sesame sauce. We got the second style (and it has little bits of chewy kaofu type wheat gluten in there) for about half the peopel this was their favorite dish. It had a slight burn but was addictive in the subtlety of the sauce mix and the noodle texture.
We got three more noodle dishes -
1. their version of biang -biang mian (see the big character on the wall in the secnd dining room). this was a plate of the very broad ribbon noodes, the kind you see at MALAN when you get the uyghur chicken (da pan ji) which they also sell here. The noodles come with mix-ins, some egg, nuts i think, spices, we just mixed it in and ate them. it's a relatively dry dish and it highlights the noodles.
2. zhajiangmian - noodles with the zha jiang sauce. Again, here they use the super broad noodles as above (as opposed ot most places, shandong style, where the noodles are a typical handpulled slightly thick noodle). The sauce was good - chinese style as opposed to the very thick adn sweet korean style (Jajangmyeon). years ago, some people liked to claim that his was the original spaghetti brought to italy by marco polo... fun claim historically bankrupt - noodles were known in the mediterranean centuries before marco polo. But it was quite tasty - i actually prefer the zhajiangmian at Qingdao bread food, shandong style but these were fun.
3. the spicy tiaozi, these were a thick soft noodle, stir fried with a beef that you think is spicy but the marinadeisn't spicy at all, there are just some hot chilies in teh mix. different texture and considering we had 7 eople every body got enough of each of these to taste. Woudl probably have skipped the double order of the bread and lamb soup - yangrou paomo.(also available with beef).
We got three non-farinaceous savory dishes
1. ze ran niu rou - a stir fried beef dish with green adn red peppers. these are not bel pepers adn the green pepper is not your garden variety. it' has a texture similar to the green pepper with which we are all familiar - doesn't look or feel jalapeno ish... but it's incredibly hot... well, no, but surprisingly hot. a nice change.
2. a dish - chinese name - sheng cuan wan zi tang... Fresh quickboile meatball soup. Small meatals are quickboiled inan incredbily light broth, - the broth gets a bit more flavor from the boiling and it'sall brought to the table. It was very comforting - tno spicy, a little salty, a little sweet - not sugar sweet, just sweet from the freshness of the meat (didn't ask which mammal it was - name doesn't say could have been lamb, but maybe pork... or a mix of forcemeat) ,the broth was good enough for you to consider not ordering beer nor drinking the tea but rather going trad.chinese and drinking the soup to accompany the meal
3. suan rong A cai - garlic paste with "A" vegetae - written on teh menu as the latin character A. This is a name for this vegetable, the other name i was given when asking about it was You Mai Cai - lit. Oil Wheat Vegetable. I just googled it.. here are the links
they are calling it chinese lettuce. it was delicious and like no salad green i've had. kept a strong texture after cooking and not a Stalk-y feeling to it. Anyway, it was a big hit.
We also ordered the steamed sweet rice - ba bao fan, eight treasure rice - glutinous rice steamed ina clear sugar syrup with a variety of candied fruits, beans and nuts. Incongruously served on pretty but to western eyes crazy-strange slices of cucumber. yes, i know that in iran, cucumbers are served on fruit plates. We didn't try the cucumber, and we were so full as to ending up with just 3 or 4 of us trying the sweet rice. Liked it. But was too full.
So we hung for about another half hour.. and then one of our party really wanted the Taiwanese snow ice. As a good chunk of the party was in from out-of-town, we then drove over to arcadia for snow ice - straberry, green tea, maybe more. i hardly had any as I was still quite full. and that's a different review in any case.
8518 East Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770
In the mall just west of the one with 888 seafood. south side of valley.